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September 19, 2008

Military Action Should Only Be a Last Resort

I would like to clarify my thoughts as expressed in your September 5 article “Specter of War Divides Iranian Jews in U.S.: Young and Old Split Over Using Force To Contain Tehran.”

I have no conflict or worry with respect to how it might end for the dictatorial and fanatical regime in Iran, not the Iranian nation as was quoted in the article. Indeed, I have a strong affinity toward the people of my birthplace and maintain a special bond to my Persian culture and heritage.

Also, the article neglected to mention that I believe a military response should be used as a last resort, and only if it assures a significant setback in Iran’s nuclear program. A military strike will have enormous implications for the United States’ and Israel’s security due to Iran’s ability to respond using asymmetrical methods, including activating terrorist cells around the world. Lastly, it would cause a rift among the fiercely proud nationalist Iranian people and Israel for decades to come, just as the American-supported 1953 overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government has done to date.

David Peyman
Los Angeles, Calif.

Respect Religious Beliefs and Civil Rights

I was discouraged but not surprised to come home from Torah study the other day (Shoftim — “Justice, justice shall you pursue”) and read your article on the Orthodox Union’s support of California’s Proposition 8, which would ban same-sex marriage (“Orthodox Join Fight Against Gay Nuptials,” September 5).

My partner of 29 years and I were married in late June in a combined civil and religious ceremony by Rabbi Leah Novick in Carmel, Calif. Unfortunately, the license is not valid in our home state of Texas. Just as Reform rabbis in California are not in any way required to perform same-sex commitment ceremonies and marriages, it is wrong to argue that Orthodox synagogues would face lawsuits if they refused to host same-sex wedding-related events.

One of the great things about America is our separation of church and state. As a Reform Jew, I respect the religious beliefs of Orthodox Jews, but not when they spill over into bigotry in the civil arena. Unfortunately, some Jewish groups are joining the Christian right in imposing their religious beliefs on civil law, which then discriminates against all gay and lesbian Jews, including my husband and myself.

Alan J. Hurwitz
Houston, Texas

Lieberman Puts Country Before Party

I am very disappointed by the criticisms that are being leveled against Senator Joseph Lieberman for his support of Senator John McCain’s presidential candidacy (“Dems Wonder What Happened to Their Good Jewish Boy,” September 5).

This country wants the politicians in Washington to stop fighting and come together to get things done, yet when someone feels that the other side has a better candidate and backs that person, he is called a traitor. I, for one, vote for the better person whether they are Democrat or Republican. Why isn’t it clear to everyone that Lieberman is giving us what we hope should be the solution in Washington?

I have always known where Lieberman stands on the issues; he doesn’t change with the polls. He is an honest, competent and concerned senator, interested in what is best for Connecticut and for America.

Harold L. Schwartz
Stamford, Conn.

Obama’s Achievement And America’s

I applaud your editorial about the Democratic National Convention and what it means in the context of American history to nominate an African American for the highest office in the land (“The Decision in Denver,” September 5).

As a Jew, I know there is much that we share in our history with African Americans. At times we have both had to overcome various stereotypes and outright prejudice. I support Senator Barack Obama not because of race, but because of the hope and fresh change that he would bring our country. But even if one doesn’t agree with my preference, it is important to recognize this historic achievement.

**Steven M. Clayton **
Ocean, N.J.

Disturbed by Dems’ Dissing of Carter

I was struck by the sidelining of former president Jimmy Carter at the recent Democratic convention. But in apparent contrast to everyone quoted in your article, I was disappointed by the Democrats’ decision and even more disturbed that concern about Jewish support for Barack Obama seems to be behind it (“Jimmy Carter Conspicuously Absent From Podium,” September 5).

Unlike nearly every other president before or since, Carter showed enough concern for peace between Israel and its neighbors to invest the time and political effort to generate a meaningful agreement. The Egyptian-Israeli peace accord strengthened Israel’s position immensely and provides a model of the exchange of land for peace. And in even greater contrast to most former presidents, Carter increased his involvement and influence around the world as a private citizen in the years since his term ended.

I hope that Senator Barack Obama will show a willingness to promote the requirements for peace between Israelis, Palestinians and other neighboring states. I would urge other Jews who support a two-state solution to let the Obama campaign know that they want the next president to engage with all parties with an eye toward creating the conditions necessary for peace. Jewish leaders who try to maintain policy discipline by distorting Carter’s record or scaring presidential candidates about the supposed views of most Jews do no service to Israel or peace.

Michael Appel
Ann Arbor, Mich.


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